Day 4: Unchecked Looting


Why is it taking so long?

SBNP December 24, 1989 Xmas Eve Front Page

Endara abolishes Noriega forces

...Fighting died down in Panama City, which has been ravaged in the four days since the US. invasion, as more than 2000 fresh troops were airlifted here. The reinforcements, including [go to Page 6] a helicopter company, ... joined 24,000 other US. soldiers. … The city was a shambles, with virtually every neighborhood littered with wrecked cars, rotting food, broken glass and other reminders of three days of unchecked looting. ... Roaming bands of looters and the armed remnants of Noriega’s paramilitary Dignity Battalions that have roamed the city since Wednesday when US. troops stormed Panama.”

Headline Harry: “I see that President Endara of Panama is taking care of that criminal Noriega. Also the front page says that the fighting is dying down. The situation seems to be under control.”

Dim Dune: “Why are they bringing in more than 2,000 more troops? Why do they need so many soldiers to liberate a country from one man? Why do they need so many troops in such a small country that hails us as liberators? And why if the people of Panama love us so much does the rest of the world condemn our actions?”

Sam the Cynic: “Hmmm ‘City was a shambles’ – ‘virtually every neighborhood littered with wrecked cars & rotting food.’ Sounds bad. Wrecked cars and rotting food doesn’t sound like looters to me. Sounds like a major battle going on. Maybe these looters are the forces loyal to Noriega, all those poor people that we are so afraid of.”

Harry: “We’re not afraid of the poor; we’re their allies. That’s the American way. We are protecting the poor people of Panama from Noriega by killing thousands of them and destroying their city. Makes sense to me.”

Compassionate Cathy: “Oh those poor people! Devastated by an invasion force that probably killed as many civilians as the Chinese did in Tiananmen Square. Why don’t the Americans mind their own business?”

Noriega’s destruction of Panama?

More SBNP December 24, 1989 Page 6

“Noriega destroyed everything when he fell. Everything went back to zero,” Endara said.... The new president declined to reveal the Cabinet members’ names for their own protection. “It is a shaky government because I took over the government of a country that was already invaded by another government.”

Establishment Ed: “See it was Noriega that destroyed Panama.”

Sam the Cynic: “Yeah, with those 26,000 American troops – ‘fighter jets pounding military bases with mortar, cannon, and machine gun fire’.”

Ed: “It was unfortunate that those military bases just happened to be in the middle of the poor section of town. Wages of war.”

Dim Dune: “Wait a minute I thought we were not at war with Panama. I thought we were just apprehending a drug dealer.”

Ed: “Simply a matter of terminology.”

Dune: “I don’t understand. Why won’t Endara reveal the names of his Cabinet members? Why are they afraid? Hasn’t Panama been liberated?”

Ed: “Didn’t you hear Endara? It’s hard taking over a government that’s been conquered by an invading army.”

Dune: “Makes sense. Like the Russian invasion of Afghanistan. It was hard for the Russian puppet to take control of the government that the Russians had conquered.”

No UN recognition for newly installed Regime

More SBNP 12-24-89

“[The United Nations] vote was politically significant because it showed that the United States has failed to win any international support for its intervention outside the circle of its traditional European allies or to win a measure of recognition for the newly installed Panamanian regime.”

Dim Dune: “Why doesn’t the US. intervention have any support around the world? Why won’t they recognize Endara’s government?”

Establishment Ed: “Just jealous of our success and our freedom.”

Dune: “Poor Endara! Why doesn’t he get any respect from the countries in the United Nations.”

Cynic Sam: “Could it be that his government isn’t legitimate – that it is only propped up by American military might?”

Fighting a Real War

And finally, the last SBNP Xmas eve quote

“Gen. Maxwell R. Thurman ... said US. forces were still fighting “a real war”.

Dune: “I just don’t understand. Why are the Panamanians fighting us if we are liberating them?”

Harry: “Obviously disgruntled remnants of Noriega’s army.”

Dune: “Must be quite a few of them to stand up to the US Army for so long.”

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